Matthew Slater, Devin Lucien win Super Bowl with New England Patriots

via GIPHY

Former UCLA Bruins Matthew Slater and Devin Lucien helped the New England Patriots to a thrilling 34-28 Super Bowl victory on Sunday. Slater was a team captain for the coin toss and won the overtime toss for the Patriots, which set up New England’s game-winning drive.

Slater, 31, is a six-time Pro Bowler and a key special teams player for the Patriots. He also won Super Bowl XLIX with the Patriots.

Despite collecting limited stats during his career, Slater is considered an extremely important piece to the Patriots’ success.

“He’s a difference-maker,” running back James White told the New York Post. “I think he’s the glue to the locker room.”

Lucien was drafted by the Patriots in 2016 after finishing his college career at Arizona State. During his three years at UCLA, he had 58 receptions for 752 yards and six touchdowns.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Former UCLA safety Kenny Easley elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Kenny Easley, who starred at UCLA before playing his entire NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
(Rick Stewart / Getty Images)

Former UCLA safety Kenny Easley was one of seven voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Kidney disease cut Easley’s professional career as the 1981 first-round draft pick was forced to retire in 1987 after spending his entire NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks.

In 1984, he won the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He was a four-time All-Pro selection and was elected to the Pro Bowl five times.

Easley is one of the best players to come out of UCLA. He was a three-time consensus All-American and was the first player in Pac-12 history to be named an all-conference selection for four straight years. He still holds the program record for interceptions in a career (19). In 1980, he finished in ninth place for the Heisman Trophy. His No. 5 jersey is retired by the school, and he was voted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

The 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class also includes running backs Terrell Davis and LaDanian Tomlinson, quarterback Kurt Warner, kicker Morten Anderson, defensive end Jason Taylor and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The class will be enshrined on Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

How UCLA landed four-star OL Stephan Zabié

Four-star offensive lineman Stephan Zabie committed to UCLA on National Signing Day on ESPNU.

UCLA got an early morning present on National Signing Day last Wednesday when four-star offensive lineman Stephan Zabié put on his UCLA hat at about 6 a.m. PT on ESPNU.

Zabié was UCLA’s only new Signing Day commit as the rest of the 18-man class had previously announced their commitments before signing on Feb. 1.

Head coach Jim Mora described the recruiting of the 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive lineman was “fast and furious,” as Zabié didn’t get an offer from the Bruins until Jan. 18. UCLA hadn’t even hired its offensive line coach when Zabié took his official visit to campus.

However, the Bruins were able to keep the prospect away from in-state Texas with the help of new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Mora said Fisch was critical in landing Zabié as the coach had a previous relationship with the player and his family.

Zabié is both an intriguing and important pick up for the Bruins. Bolstering an offensive line that suffered from injuries and depth issues was of utmost importance. Zabié was one of five offensive linemen to sign last Wednesday. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

How UCLA’s newest recruiting class stacks up to previous years

Buena Park High defensive back Elijah Gates is part of an 18-player UCLA recruiting class that was heavy on defense and offensive linemen. (Photo by Bill Alkofer,Orange County Register/SCNG)

Six weeks ago, UCLA’s recruiting class was 47th in the nation, according to Scout. By the end of the Signing Day festivities, the Bruins had vaulted up to 21st.

UCLA made major moves in the month of January to make up for its slow start to the recruiting cycle to end up with the third-best class in the Pac-12, but the haul is the worst in the Jim Mora era, according to rankings from Scout and Rivals.

Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA WR coach Eric Yarber to return to NFL

Photo courtesy UCLA

After five years at UCLA, wide receivers coach Eric Yarber will return to the NFL, sources confirmed Thursday.

Yarber, 53, is expected to join the Los Angeles Rams as the wide receivers coach. The news was first reported by Bruin Report Online.

Prior to joining UCLA’s staff in 2012, Yarber coached receivers with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons. He has five years of NFL coaching experience overall. His contract with UCLA still had a season on it.

After UCLA’s abysmal offensive year in 2016, the only offensive coach remaining under new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch from a year ago is tight ends coach Rip Scherer. Former quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo left for the same position at California, while former offensive line coach Adrian Klemm was fired in January. Former offensive coordinator and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu was fired in November, one day after the season ended.

UCLA recently hired offensive line coach Hank Fraley and running backs coach DeShaun Foster.

In his five years at UCLA, Yarber coached several NFL draft picks, including the school’s all-time leader in receptions Jordan Payton, a fifth-round selection in the 2016 draft. Yarber pulled in four-star receivers Theo Howard and Demteric Felton in the 2016 recruiting class, but failed to reel in a single receiver for the 2017 class, which was announced Wednesday.

According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, UCLA will also add former Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber as an offensive analyst. Weber, 29, worked as a graduate assistant for the Gophers for the previous two years. He played for Minnesota under Fisch during the 2009 season and ended his career as the school’s all-time leading passer.

Staff reporter Jack Wang contributed to this story.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page